The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spiritual Joy

Reflections on
the Life of
Madame Jeanne de la Mothe Guyon.

Further reflections on Jean Guyon's conversion experience:

It is very obvious from her statements, that, in her first experience of the new life, she had great joy. Joy was a marked characteristic of it. But taught by the great inward Teacher, she was enabled to perceive from the first, that it would not be safe for her to estimate either the reality or the degree of her reli­gion by the amount, of her happiness.

It is true there is not only such a thing as joy, but such a thing as religious joy, or joy attendant on religion, and which, therefore, may properly be described, in the language of the Scriptures, as "joy in the Holy Ghost." But this is a very different thing from saying, that joy and religion are the same thing. Joy is not only not religion, but it does not always arise from religious causes. The grounds or causes of its origin are numerous, and sometimes very diverse. A new speculative truth, new views which are at variance with the truth, or even the pleasant intimations of a dream or vision, whether more or less remarkable, (to say nothing of physical causes, and of providential causes,— causes connected with the state of our health and with our situation in life,) may be followed by a pleasurable excitement of the emotional part of our nature, which may be mistaken for true religion.

Certain it is, however, that no joys can be regarded as really of a religious nature and as involving the fact of religion, which are not attended with repentance for sin and faith in Jesus Christ, with the renovation of the desires and with the subjection of the will.

The views of Madame Guyon on this subject were distinct and decided. She took the Savior for her example, who was not the less a religious man, because he was a man of "sorrows and acquainted with grief." She did not seek joy, but God. God first,  and what God sees fit to give, afterwards. She believed and knew, (so far as she thought it necessary to give attention to the subject of her own personal enjoyments at all,) if she gave herself to God wholly, without reserve, God would not be slow to take care of her happiness. 

edited from The Life of Madam Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 7.

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